Loughner and the Insane State

RightSide NewsDaniel Greenfield

As Gabrielle Giffords continues her recovery and Jared Loughner winds his way through the justice system, it is worth taking a look back five months at the consequences and implications of that day in Arizona.

Giffords survived the attack, but it was free speech that took the bullet. The end of Glenn Beck's run at FOX may be attributed to paranoia whipped up by a media looking for an easy target. For several days the absurd notion that an electoral map caused a mentally ill man to go on a shooting spree was taken seriously. And the death of a Republican judge and the wounding of a Democratic congresswoman was placed at the feet of the political opposition.

Some liberal pundits are using the occasion of Giffords' recovery to call for a renewed gun control effort and more restrictions on free speech. Yet the Giffords shooting speaks to the failures of the left's regulatory state, and the insanity of its ambitions.

When something goes wrong, the left looks for something it can ban. Like a giant nanny, it swoops down searching for something the bad child shouldn't be allowed to play with anymore. Is there an obesity problem? Let's ban everything from salt to Happy Meal toys (a case of the government literally taking away the toys). What about a madman going on a shooting spree? Let's ban sharp words and extended magazines. That will fix that. But of course it doesn't.

Where most people saw the Loughner shootings as the crazed actions of one man, the left insisted on viewing it as a sign of a larger behavioral problem that had to be treated. Despite the abundance of material about his views that Loughner had put online, the media did its best to talk about the 'climate' rather than the person, diffusing the responsibility from him to a larger group. A group that can be controlled by applying a collective solution.

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